A successful hack of the pensions dashboard would be a scandal "beyond anything to date", according to the Pensions Management Institute's (PMI) Tim Middleton.
Speaking at seminar hosted by Barnett Waddingham on 22 March, the PMI's technical consultant argued cybercrime presents a considerable threat to the dashboard.
While the pensions sector has yet to experience a large hacking, companies in other areas such as TalkTalk which rely on data to deliver services have suffered huge reputational damage from hacking.
The development of the dashboard, which depends on the data it uses, could be a tempting target for hackers.
Middleton said: "The dashboard will have a lot of member data on it. If cyber criminals could get hold of if then there could be identity fraud on a massive scale. Their information could then be sold on the dark web for a lot of money."
Although the use of technology and data in financial services has opened up opportunities to deliver better services for consumers, it has also created chances for criminals.
He added: "At least with more traditional pension fraud such as cold calling it is usually confined to one member and relies on their involvement to a degree. A hack of the dashboard to steal data does not require any involvement from the member and could target people on scale in a way that traditional fraud cannot."
He argued that previous scandals such as Robert Maxwell and British Home Stores (BHS) have damaged the reputation of the industry in the minds of the public, and that the industry cannot afford another one.The prototype of the dashboard is currently being tested with the full version expected in 2019.
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